Many people associate government branding with a slogan or a tagline, usually in support of tourism initiatives (e.g., Incredinburgh, I ♥︎ NY, I Feel Slovenia), but there’s another layer of government branding that brings together design elements to produce a city, town, or country’s visual identity system used in signage, flags, maps, logos, etc.
Take, for example, Atlanta, Georgia. The southeastern US city recently rebranded its Department of Planning and Community Development with a new name, a new look, and some very distinctive public notice signage. As Fast Company writes, “Not all cities have a budget for design, but Atlanta’s department of urban planning is showing why they should.”
The department is now officially called the Department of City Planning and not only is the new name clear and simple, but the entire rebranding project aligned around the phrase: “To Be Clear Is To Be Kind.” In the words of creative director Blake Howard, quoted in Fast Company: “If we want to be kind to the public we serve, we need to be clear.”